UK/Swiss technology could be answer to serious injury and paraplegia


Thanks to a robotic rehabilitation system newly-developed by Swiss/UK technology firms, paraplegia sufferers could soon see their prospects of walking significantly improved.

The Lokomat is designed for the robotic treadmill training of neurological patients with paraplegia and movement disorders caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis or serious injury to the spinal cord or brain.

serious injury

Developed by the Swiss-based technology firm Hocoma, the Lokomat 'walks' at a steady pace on a treadmill using two motorised orthoses: devices that support or correct limb and torso functions damaged by serious injury.

The Lokomat's electrically-driven legs are synchronised to match the treadmill's motion, with enough precision to challenge the patient's own legs without harming them.

Hocoma says that as a result, patients can train for longer and more precisely than allowed by traditional manual therapies. The firm believes that over 25% of all paraplegic patients could benefit from the new technology, which is now being rolled out to various hospitals across the UK.

Simpson Millar LLP said the new therapy was a tribute to the collaborative achievements of British and Swiss technology. "The Lokomat's electric motors, brakes and gearheads were produced by the UK arm of the Swiss firm maxon motor," he said. "The developers have come up with a truly excellent rehabilitation therapy which will be of enormous benefit to paraplegia sufferers."

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